Adventures with Rio: Summer Camp


Liz Hacker, junior, shares her experiences at a summer camp with her family.

Every summer, my family goes to Fort Wilderness, a camp in Rhinelander Wis. My siblings and I say “it’s like heaven on earth!”

The volunteers and staff there have always included me. Every morning we have religious classes and other than having a family member help me, my peers help me. My friend, Heidi, is always hanging out with me. Sometimes, she is too concerned about me. We have gone on some crazy adventures .

The Gathering place is my favorite place to hang out with people. When I enter, the smell of coffee fills my nostrils. I feel the cool air conditioning surround me. When the weather is bad, I love gathering with friends, having a worship time and listening to the soothing guitar.

I have developed some long-term friendships with other campers. They have watched me when I am unable to do activities. We have stayed up late around campfires talking about what has been happening in our lives .

The thing that I love about Fort is that I can relax and reflect on life. I have spent hours rolling through camp thinking about the tough stuff I deal with . Sometimes, I just sit and pray in the Gathering Place.

Rio has trouble with the terrain. Everyday I get stuck somewhere at camp; thankfully, campers help me get unstuck. I do not go to the beach unless someone is with me because of the sand, which is the worst terrain for any kind of wheelchair. Another thing that is hard on Rio is her battery runs out in the late afternoon because I am on the go for the majority of the day.

Campfires, oh how I love spending nights around the warmth of a fire. The smell is soothing to me after a busy day of activities. Everyone in our friend group in a one place. Campfires are an awesome way to meet other campers, as they usually walk around camp to visit other families.

Wednesdays at camp are crazy. The adults have their “date night “ and the kids hang out with volunteers. It’s totally crazy, I eat while my peers eat and then I hang out with the little kids. The high school group goes to the beach and goes swimming, which I cannot do without supervision. I love helping out with the little kids. There is never a dull moment!

Horses: I don’t like the smell, but I like to ride them! We know the wranglers pretty well so they have a private lesson. We do many obstacle courses and ride around the arena.

Carpet ball is a popular game at camp. Kids gather around to play the winners. I’m pretty good at it and was in the tournament! Unfortunately, a boy once creamed me really badly, but he was the champion of the tournament.

The last night of camp is the party night! We stay up and just have fun. We eat a lot of junk food and have campfires at 9:30. It is a bittersweet feeling knowing that we are leaving the next morning.
Fort Wilderness has had an immense impact on my life and I’m so grateful for it!